What can I do if I am being harrassed by the a certain police officer?

02/05/2007 - Category:Criminal - Harassment - State: UT #425

Full Question:

I have a question regarding my rights of harassment by the Police and the Department of Child Services I need to know if the Police, not just any Police but a friend a my family, can come by my house anytime they want to and harass me about an incident that happened a year ago. The incident involved the same Police Officer. He came into my house with no search warrant and found some drugs and paraphernalia and no one was taken to jail. Now I have gotten on my feet and moved they have started coming over when they want to. I have complied with them every time but I want to know if I have to keep putting up with this. The first visit they called DCFS and I went and took a drug test and passed it. Now they are asking me what I plan on doing with my daughter if they were to come arrest me on things they have heard (hearsay) and by the incident from one year ago. They did not press no charges on me or take me to jail last year. Now they are trying to use that against me. Can I get some advise on how to handle this and what I should do to get them to stop harassing me?

Answer:

If you are harassed or abused by an officer, it is possible to file a complaint with the City Police Department or the Mayor's office. This allows you to tell someone your story, possibly make the abusive officer answer some questions from the city, and make a record of the complaint. In your own home, if the police ask permission to come in, you may refuse. You should step outside and talk with them. If the weather is too inclement for that, or if they don't like this approach, consider offering to go to the police station. You don't have to let them in without a warrant. If you are asked, "What do you have to hide?" turn it around and ask "What kind of question is that?" If they are not asking to come in, but breaking down your door, give way and let them in. Don't fight them or make any insults or threats, but remember all that is said and done, make notes, and get a lawyer.

Under ordinary circumstances, the police can search only if they have your consent or a warrant issued by a judge for the search of your home. If the police claim to have a search warrant, ask them to show it to you and check that it is valid; to be valid, it must specify the date and location of the search. The police may only search for any articles listed in the warrant, but they can seize any other item if it is in plain view and if they have probable cause to believe that it is, or contains, a weapon or evidence of a crime. If an officer tries to search any further, or forces him/herself into your home against your will, make it clear that you do not agree to the search, but don't physically resist. You should tell your lawyer immediately about it, because evidence obtained by an illegal search generally can't be used against you in court. You might also consider contacting the branch of the American Civil Liberties Union at: http://www.acluutah.org/index.html



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02/05/2007 - Category: Harassment - State: UT #425

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